LiLa aims to find culturally and socially sustainable solutions to meet the need for sustainable development and thus benefit its participants, communities and other stakeholders, including creative industries and cultural tourism. Collaboration produces new understanding and creative capacity, research methods, aesthetic products and processes to support people’s sustainable living in the North. Central themes of the project, besides environmental questions, are the expressions of the Northern environmental culture, such as art, handicrafts, narratives and living in nature. The intention is to create dialogue and support people living in northern landscapes. Participants in LiLa share similar challenges regarding the Northern and Arctic environment and communities.
Participating universities are seeking ways to implement community and place-based summer school in the hybrid model using art-based methodologies. LiLa Summer School consists of annual periods: online seminars, place-based fieldwork, both on-site and virtual exhibitions, catalogs and publications. Participating researchers take part in the current year’s Relate North publication. Each annual realization is evaluated and further developed using art-based action research and design research methodologies.
Due to COVID-19, the LiLa 2021 was realized as a hybrid model where studying and communication took place virtually, but the art-based investigations materialized in the locations where the participants of LiLa were living. The online version of the school reached collaboration on a completely different level. Working both online and onsite gives participants an opportunity to explore their own environments while learning from others, and allows new partners to be accompanied more easily. Beside working and communicating digitally, LiLa seeks ways to implement virtual exhibitions so that they would serve art-based action and the public alongside a physical exhibition. Through the exhibitions, awareness of the challenges facing Northern regions can be shared with a wider audience, opening up new avenues for art-based project to participate in the conversation.
Viewers can visit the virtual exhibition Our Places, Common Arctic (which contains artworks from 2018 and 2021 LiLa summer schools) here.
Credit: Lotta Lundstedt, Mette Gårdvik and Elina Härkönen, Meeting in landscape (2021). This video was originally published as part of Relate North 2021. COURTESY RELATE NORTH.
Note: The events described in this article were organized prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Credit: This text is a shortened version of the article originally published in Jokela, T., & Härkönen, E., “Living in the Landscape in the Time of COVID-19” in T. Jokela, & G. Coutts (Eds.), Relate North: Distances (International Society for Education Through Art, 2021), pp. 178-198.
This story is part of the Finland Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.